WEDNESDAY marked the end of a very special school year for Cawthorne School and its 160 pupils.
For 150 years, the school has stood at the heart of the village and 2022 has seen lots of creativity and hard work go into celebrating this wonderful milestone.
This is no ordinary school having been the focal point of the village, serving the community and educating children and families for generations.
And it continues to be remembered and cherished long after many of its pupils have left with life-long associations being forged during pupils’ earliest days of education.
The school has stood on the current day site since 1872, when it first opened to educate boys in the village and surrounding area. In 1906, girls were allowed to attend and since then the school has grown in size and reputation.
Over the course of the year, children and staff have celebrated this special anniversary and the school’s rich history by undertaking curriculum work linked to the Victorian Period, conducting visits around the village, the local museum and Cannon Hall and even going back in time by hosting a Victorian-themed school day.
The Year 6 leavers funded a time capsule which was filled with memorabilia of 2022 and buried on the last day of term to be unearthed in 25 years' time at the 175th anniversary.
An open day last Saturday and a special church service at Cawthorne All Saints Church with new vicar Canon Keith Farrow for the school community on Monday rounded off the celebrations with hundreds attending and taking the opportunity to revisit the much-loved school.
Visitors included past pupils, some coming from as far away as London, the two previous headteachers, former staff and village residents.
One extra-special guest was Victor Haynes, believed to be the school’s oldest past pupil at 99.
Victor has lived in the village all his life, retiring only four years ago from his job as newspaper ‘boy’ at the local post office.
Headteacher Adam Bramall said: “It was an absolutely fabulous day with hundreds of people coming along to look around the school and view all the artefacts and pupils’ work that was on display.
“There was a positive buzz about the day with people reminiscing and meeting up.
“As well as visitors with past associations with the school, we also welcomed our new starters and toddlers who will be our pupils of the future.
“We turned the ICT room into an archive with the original plans and deeds on display. We even have the original bill for the building.”
Also on display were log books, Victorian desks, samplers, photographs and even the original headmaster’s cane.
Another special guest was Muriel Booth, 82, who started at Cawthorne School in 1944 and now works there as a school meals supervisor.
Deputy head Ruth Kukula said: “Muriel lives in the village, her children attended the school and like many of our former pupils, she has always kept an association with the school having done many different roles here and continues to knit scarves for pupils and staff. It’s a very special place.”
The open day was not just an opportunity for many to reminisce and get a glimpse into the history of the school, it was also a time for reunions.
“Ten people arrived separately, all clutching the same class photograph and it was great to see them chatting and sharing memories,” said Ruth.
Another poignant feature of the open day was a timeline where visitors were invited to write their details on a Post-it note and attach it to the timeline to mark their place in time in school history.